NEWS SEARCH RESULTS ( 1 - 10 from 11 )

Procura+ participants lead the way towards zero-emission procurement

28 June 2019

Three Procura+ participants have released Innovative Procurement Plans for zero-emission transport in procurement, to be implemented in the coming years.

Oslo (Norway)’s zero-emissions plan covers procurement broadly; they have also released a guidance document outlining recommended environmental requirements that can be used in procurement that includes transport. Rotterdam (The Netherlands) has created plans for zero-emission transport in procurement of Construction Materials, and for Craftsmen Service Contracts. Copenhagen (Denmark)’s plans cover Supply Consolidation as a way to lessen emissions, and zero-emission transportation for Craft and Facility Management Services.

These plans have informed a new handbook, Procuring zero emission delivery of goods and services. By drawing on the three cities’ experiences, the handbook, produced as part of the BuyZET project, coordinated by ICLEI, assists local authorities to reduce the carbon footprint of their procurement activities. Furthermore, it sheds light on how cities can fight climate change not only through municipal policies, but also as consumers.

The public sector is a major consumer of goods and services. More strategic and sustainable planning regarding the procurement and transport of these can thus have sweeping effects on both reducing emissions and traffic. Taking these bold steps in transport procurement emphasises the lighthouse role that both Oslo and Rotterdam already hold as member cities of the Global Lead Cities Network (GLCN) on Sustainable Procurement

To download the handbook, click here.

Learn how to GPP: Toolkit available now

27 June 2019

Green Public Procurement (GPP) helps public authorities to buy goods and services with a lower environmental impact. The Environment Directorate General of the European Commission recently published the GPP Training Toolkit. The Toolkit was developed by ICLEI Europe and is designed for use by public purchasers and by GPP trainers, or integration in general public procurement training courses and workshops. As such it supports public buyers in implementing GPP across sectors. 

It consists of six independent modules covering themes such as strategic implementation, legal aspects, market engagement and circular economy. In addition, the toolkit includes ten operational modules, which explore GPP implementation in various sectors such as building design, transport, lighting or textiles.

The toolkit comes in the form of modular PowerPoint presentations (including trainer notes) and accompanying guidance.


Explore the toolkit here.

If you need further help, consult the GPP Helpdesk. Stay up to date with GPP activities across Europe, subscribe to the GPP Newsalert!

Two examples for sustainable procurement in Chinese cities

26 June 2019

Sustainable procurement is being applied around the world as a tool to achieve environmental and social goals with regards to sustainable consumption and production. ICLEI East Asia, as part of their contribution to the One Planet Network Working Group 1a, recently published two case studies that showcase the ongoing efforts to reach high environmental standards in China.

The first example is the planned procurement of an 'Ice Storage Air Conditioning for a Green Building', in Shenzhen, Guangming district. The AC procurement of the Guangming Cultural and Arts Center was selected to apply green tender criteria. By 2020, the Center is expected to become a landmark public building which meets the highest environmental and energy standards at the national level. In addition to the environmental gains, the procurement has great potential for monetary savings. Example criteria are 'AC system designed with minimum refrigerating capacity and optimized with off-peak electricity tariffs' and 'AC system with the guaranteed end of life collection and disposal services'.

Read the full case study here.

Read the full story here.

The second case study presents an innovative furniture procurement that aims to contribute to a green supply chain in the Binhai New Area, Tianjin. The core procurement team decided to develop a new green evaluation scorecard for school furniture. The award criteria were structured to embrace a broader dimension of environmental performance covering the whole life cycle. Environmental performance is listed out as a separate category and represents 15% of the total assessment, which stands a significant increase from previous practice (4%). The assessment criteria for price and quality represent 30% and 55% respectively.

Lessons learned are that (1) effective communication between the procurement supervisory body and the procuring entity is the key to Binhai's success, (2) that more attention is required in informing the market of new bidding rules and (3) that international cooperation opens up new opportunities for GPP in China such as the work with ICLEI East Asia and Procura+.

Read the full case study here.


16 Candidates in the Running for Procura+ Awards

26 June 2019

The scene is set for the 2019 Procura+ Awards, with 16 candidates now through to the next round of selection in the run up to the Award ceremony at the Nordic Edge Expo in Stavanger, Norway, where the winners will be unveiled.

The 16 candidates have been selected from a strong field of over two dozen entries in four contest categories: Sustainable Procurement of the Year, Innovation Procurement of the Year, Outstanding Procurement in ICT, and Procurement Initiative of the Year. With four nominees for each category, the scene is set for a close contest.

Among this years' nominees are Procura+ participants City of Ghent with their procurement of sustainable workwear, the Catalan Governement with a sustainable framework contract for cleaning services, the City of Helsinki with their innovation procurement for their historic stadium. Procura+ participant City of Växjö was nominated for their sustainable food procurement. Nominees for the Procurement Initiative of Year inlcude Procura+ participants Cit of Oslo, City of Zurich, the Dutch Rijkswaterstaat, and Ihobe.

This year’s jury is comprised of high-level representatives with vast experience in procurement practice and policy making. Katrin Stjernfeldt Jammeh, Mayor of Malmö and Procura+ Network Chair, Janos Bertok, Head of the Public Sector Integrity Division at the OECD, and Marzena Rogalska, Acting Director of the European Commission’s DG Grow and Global Director of ICLEI’s Procurement Centre Mark Hidson are all taking part in the judging process.

The Award ceremony will take place at the the Nordic Edge Expo, on 24 September 2019. Nordic Edge promotes solutions for smarter cities and communities and aims to be one of Europe´s most important arenas for knowledge exchange and inspiration to creators of smarter businesses, cities and societies. Established in 2015, Nordic Edge is by far the largest Smart City event in Norther Europe.

The Procura+ Awards is an initiative of ICLEI Europe, with support from the EU-funded Procure2Innovate project.

For more information on the 2019 awards, visit the Procura+ Awards page.

We are hiring: Officer in Sustainable and Innovation Procurement

25 June 2019

The Sustainable Economy and Procurement team at ICLEI is looking to fill the position of Sustainable and Innovation Procurement Officer at its European Secretariat in Freiburg (Germany).

ICLEI's Sustainable Economy and Procurement team has been working on the topics of sustainable, strategic and innovation procurement for 22 years. In more recent years our work has expanded to cover the topic of circular local economies. The team offers support to public authorities in implementation activities, spreading awareness of the concepts, developing new approaches, capacity building and encouraging policy developments at the European and international level.

We are looking for a person who has experience of sustainable and innovation procurement to complement the existing expertise within the team.

The deadline for applications is 14 July 2019. The description of the position and information on how to apply can be found on the ICLEI jobs page.

We look forward to your application!

10 challenges & good practices for circular public procurement

19 June 2019

Public procurement holds the power to implement sustainable production and consumption across sectors. To achieve high impact with regards to resource use, procurement needs to involve circular principles.

A new report developed by Climate KIC, the City of Malmö and the City of Helsinki as part of the Circular City project, recognises the important role that public authorities play in the transition to a circular economy. The report -  'The challenges and potential of circular procurements in public construction projects', points out that circular procurement focusing on construction projects can be the instrument to address the increasing challenge that cities face regarding their resources.

Circular procurement is still a relatively new theme and especially in the construction sector, circular procurements are still rare globally. The report outlines 10 challenges for the uptake of circular procurement such as 'procurements are locked down in the planning phase' or 'Lack of information and circular economy expertise is reflected in every stage of procurement'. Integrating circularity into the procurement for the public construction sector is possible as a curated case catalogue demonstrates as part of the report.

Among the 10 good practice cases are examples from ICLEI member Gothenburg, Sweden, Procura+ Participants Haarlem, the Netherlands and Copenhagen, Denmark, as well as GLCN City Helsinki, Finland. The ladder showcases the procurement for multifunctional space in the Laasko Hospital with the goals of easy maintenance and material longevity.

In the EU context, the new report connects well to the Circular Economy Action Plan, which was published by the EU Commission in 2017. Procurement specific guidance can also be found in the report on Public Procurement for a Circular Economy.

Looking ahead, the report concludes that to much more experience is needed about the use of recycled materials before circular building can become a standard procedure in the sector. Also, it will be important to incorporate emissions and cost calculations into pilot projects to make it easier to justify the benefits of circular building materials in the future. All in all, the report underlines the big opportunity to create systematic change towards circularity through public purchasing power.


Read the full report here.

Browse our Resource Centre for more material on circular procurement.

Take a tour around Copenhagen's (in)famous incinerator

18 June 2019

Adorned with a ski slope, the Amager Resource Centre (ARC) cuts an imposing figure just outside the centre of the city of Copenhagen (Denmark) itself. The new facility is one of the world’s greatest capacity incinerator in Europe, and one of the world’s most efficient. Aiming to be the world’s first carbon neutral city by 2025, the country of Denmark still produces some of the highest rates of municipal waste in Europe at 16 million tonnes; 80% of which is incinerated. How does this fit into a carbon free future? And at a cost of 59 Million Euro, is it a feasible solution to our waste problem more widely? We took a tour with ARC’s Sune Scheibye around the famous landmark to find out.

Part of the city

The incinerator’s design uses recreation to incorporate the €500 million 2-year-old waste centre into the city it powers. “Our focus as a city, as citizens, is all about livability." says Copenhagen Lord Mayor Frank Jensen. The city intends to replace coal with biomass, to upgrade energy inefficient buildings, and to lure even more residents onto bikes and public transit. Not to mention add more wind and solar electricity to the grid, exporting surplus wind electricity to other parts of Denmark to offset Copenhagen's remaining several hundred thousand tons of transportation emissions.  


The cleaning process and recycling pollutants 

Even state-of-the-art incinerators emit dioxins and other harmful pollutants. Here (at the first energy plant in Denmark equipped with a catalyser to remove it) 40m tall scrubbers “take out the NOX emissions (minimised to a tenth of the former plant it replaces) and SO2 (reduced by 99.5%) things you wouldn’t want to emit into the air.” The electric filter removes most of the dust or “fly ash” in the smoke which is used for road construction, while the flue gas cleaning product is landfilled at controlled sites for hazardous waste. 


What about the city’s goal to go CO2 neutral, especially given the high percentage of plastic in imported waste?

While the new plant will increase carbon dioxide emissions by 43% - from 140,000 tons a year to 200,000 tons—ARC says new technologies will make the plant 25% more efficient than the old incinerator. Posing a net benefit to the atmosphere, at least compared to landfill, the process also creates much less potent methane. Poor plastic recycling rates, which present a loss of up to 1.6 billion kroner (€214 million), means more toxic gases being released, although plans have been put forward to raise it by extending the current deposit return scheme. 

Recycling rates: how are they being raised?

While metal recycling rates are exemplary (111%; some imported); plastic recycling remains low, at 15%. Work is being done to raise rates including a small pilot plastic sorting plant next to the incinerator built in 2017 and the introduction of EPR (extended producer responsibility). But the separation of contaminated, multi-composite containers remains an issue. “People are sorting waste at home more, but a lot of it comes down to production, where you produce too many different types,” says Sune.

Does the overcapacity of the new incinerator create a conflict of interest with the European Commission’s plans to achieve zero waste? Aside from importing waste from Europe e.g. the UK, how is it dealt with?

Imported waste is not necessarily reported. Currently, 40% of imported waste comes from the UK for one, where it would otherwise be landfilled. “This plant will be here for the next 30 years, so you’d rather have overcapacity than too little. We’re producing heat and electricity from the waste which we’d otherwise have to get from fossil fuels. [Using renewables] is not possible 100% of the time. Geothermal energy for instance can only provide a small amount. It would be great if we could have only renewable energy, but we need to be pragmatic and realistic about it. Until then, this is the better option. Instead of depending on the regimes of coal, oil or gas producing countries - Russia, Ukraine etc. we can keep it [...] here in Copenhagen.”

Do you have insight into product stewardship and/or total cost of ownership throughout the life cycle of products to ensure circularity?

“Not within our business. We’re managing the waste people produce. We’d like to see people sort it more. But producers need to make smarter products, in essence. We’d like to incinerate as little as possible. We’re actually working towards not incinerating anything. But there is waste that cannot be recycled.” Several Danish waste incinerators have though in recent years actively involved life cycle assessment (LCA) modelling, including world-leading assessment model EASEWASTE in collaboration with the Technical University of Denmark.

From symptoms to source

Alongside climate impacts, the question of power, communication with and involvement of the public and feasibility of alternatives to the incinerator and incineration itself have caused controversy. Some argue incineration makes sense in the transition to a sustainable society. Meanwhile, the Regional Development committee of the European Parliament (REGI) proposed to stop burning funds in the form of incineration subsidies. Zero Waste Europe warn “that safeguards are needed to prevent other countries from committing the same mistake [of overinvestment in waste-to-energy facilities]”. Especially since one can obtain 5 times as much energy from recycling, much of the incinerated waste is non-renewable and imported from afar. Taiwan and cities in Spain, Italy and Japan for example have shunned incineration for waste reduction as part of a zero-waste commitment/ strategy, with an emphasis on composting, recycling and disincentivising waste. The jury is out on whether incineration is a necessary and sound solution in the short term transition towards a circular economy or simply legitimises our throwaway culture, distracting from the complete system change that could be possible.

Are you ready to boost your procurement power?

13 June 2019

ICLEI is excited to bring opportunities to procurers to engage with suppliers and public authorities across Europe to discover and shape new innovative and sustainable solutions to their purchasing needs. ICLEI can link procurers’ plans and needs with funded projects, such as the Big Buyers Initiative and the Innovation Procurement Brokers, that can bring procurers closers to other buyers or suppliers.

The Big Buyers Initiative is a European Commission platform for promoting collaboration between big public buyers in implementing strategic public procurement. ICLEI is looking for ambitious and committed public authorities willing to work together to develop pioneering approaches to procurement, and develop strategic joint actions to help move the market. For that, different working groups on different procurement sectors are being set up. Practitioners interested in joining, just have to check the Big Buyers Initiative webpage.

On the other hand, the Innovation Procurement Brokers is a project that brings public buyers and suppliers of innovation together. If you are a procurer and already have a need, ICLEI and other expert partners can connect you with SMEs and start-ups from across Europe that can provide or develop innovative solutions to meet your challenge. If you are at an earlier stage, the Innovation Procurement Brokers team can also support you to identify and refine your needs. For more information, visit here.

Climate Action and the future of SPP

11 June 2019

Climate emergency

Four years from the Paris agreement and the implications of the need to drive deep decarbonisation are setting in, now discussed by central banks and finance ministries. At the recent Spring Meetings of the World Bank Group and International Monetary Fund, Finance Ministers from more than twenty countries launched a new coalition aimed at driving stronger collective action on climate change and its impacts. How fast can they provide tangible results to drive global green investment? And how will public procurement be affected by the new climate goals, specifically coalition of finance ministers for climate action?

Helsinki Principles

The newly formed Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action endorsed a set of six common principles, known as the “Helsinki Principles,” that promote national climate action, especially through fiscal policy and the use of public finance. The number of countries involved now totals 20 countries, with Costa Rica joining in April 2019. World Bank CEO, Kristalina Georgieva emphasised the crucial role procurement has to play in climate-resilient economy of the future and that the coalition “demonstrates new levels of ambition from decision-makers in the fiscal policy arena and provides an important platform for Finance Ministers to share best practice on the jobs and growth benefits of the new climate economy.”

Green New Deal vs. greed

Facing the reality of the climate emergency will require collaboration of the collective, public and private interests and beyond, to implement the measures required; from putting a price on carbon, to soft and hard adaptation. In Helsinki, where 100% of procurement processes will integrate sustainability by 2020, a network based organisation called KEINO was created to support Finnish public contracting authorities with the development of sustainable and innovative procurement. It is comprised of key stakeholders working towards the objectives set for public procurement across all governmental levels in Finland. It is funded by The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment (MEAE), and jointly steered by a conclave of six ministries. A proven way to kickstart the circular economy is to generate demand by launching a ‘green deal’ between the government, cities and companies on green public procurement.” These deals include an accompanying training programme where purchasing managers learn how to procure in a circular way.

Going forward

As Christian Aid's global climate advisor, Dr Kat Kramer urged: "vague incrementalism [...] is too little too late. We need rapid and radical action on climate, not financial risk assessments." Will states avoid or embrace the opportunity to be pioneers in the transition for planet friendly procurement?

World's first zero waste town: Cappanori

6 June 2019

“Capannori, a town of 46,700 inhabitants near Lucca in Tuscany, was set to be just another step in the relentless march of waste incineration in Italy”, according to Zero Waste Europe. With waste overflowing and dumps full after years of mismanagement by the local mafia and with little mention of the environmental impacts and small fraction of the energy incineration managed to capture, the town was virtually convinced by the “incinerator crazed” Northern European model. Until a schoolteacher turned waste management leader, Rossano Ercolini came in. Bringing a trash bag with him to show how the content could be used again, he corralled residents at town hall meetings to discuss alternative ways to deal with their waste. With the help of Dr Paul Connett, a world expert on incineration and Zero Waste, he managed to persuade the town council of Capannori to be the first in Europe to sign up to the Zero Waste Strategy in 2007, committing to sending zero waste to landfill by 2020. Having since managed to reduce landfill by 40% and recycle some 82% of the rest to reach a residual 55kg household waste per capita per annum, they are not far off.

The way to go: pay as you throw

After scrapping the initial incineration plan, the town put Ercolini in charge of ASCIT, the local waste collection corporation. Door-to-door collection was introduced in stages across the municipality between 2005 and 2010, starting with small villages, where any mistakes could be identified and corrected early on, then extended to cover the entire municipal area in 2010. By that time, 82% of municipal waste was separated at source, leaving just 18% of residual waste to go to landfill. In 2012 a number of villages in the municipality became subject to a new ‘Pay As You Throw’ waste tariff, where the frequency of collection per household is measured using microchips in stickers on residual waste bags, scanned by a reader on the collection vehicle. In those areas the new tariff incentivized better separation and prevention, driving local source separation rates up to 90%.

Economically and socially sustainable

Key to Capannori’s success was early and active consultation of residents. Meetings were held in public places so as to ensure openness, transparency and citizens’ involvement. Volunteers delivered sorting kits including bins, bags and information in person, thus ensuring their understanding and improving sorting rates. Savings from expensive landfill and recycling earnings not only made the system self sufficient but actually saved the council over €2 million in 2009 to be reinvested into waste reduction infrastructure.       

Compost spreading success

One of the most successful elements was the composting element of the scheme, which encouraged participants with a reduced tariff for residual waste. Waste management company ASCIT carried out frequent door-to-door collection of organic waste, which is sent to a composting plant in the province. In 2010 public canteens in Capannori were supplied with Joraform composting machines. These local collective composting machines are planned to be distributed to residents, reducing the cost of collecting, transporting and treating organic waste by between 30 and 70%.

World without waste

In 2010 Capannori set up the first Zero Waste Research Centre in Europe, composed of an operative team with industrial designers charged with the task of proposing changes to the design of poorly designed products. These proposals are then sent to the producers responsible for manufacturing toxic and/or non-recyclable and/or non-biodegradable products in order to provide sustainable alternatives. The centre also has a Scientific Committee composed of waste experts, university professors and other technical people to consult. On the experts’ analysis, coffee capsules and conventional plastic nappies dominate the residual  (non-recyclable) waste, leading to a collaboration with coffee companies to work on biodegradable or recyclable alternatives and a subsidised reusable nappy scheme.

Procurement and political nudges

Other initiatives include a campaign to increase consumption of tap water (Italians are Europe’s biggest consumers of bottled mineral water), swapping disposable cutlery and tableware in public buildings for reusables, distributing cloth shopping bags to all 17,800 households and 5,000 to businesses and stocking sanitary products, in addition to reusable nappies in municipal pharmacies. Just a few examples where political nudges in the right direction have lead to increased awareness amongst residents, empowering them to implement virtuous consumption habits.

Changing culture

Record levels of second hand items for reuse at nearby Lammari’s Ecology Island prove that "it is an ethical and ecological principle, a goal and a vision, but above all a culture and a way of engaging communities and spreading information. The aim is to prevent waste by recovering, fixing and lengthening the life of an object. Recycling only comes in when all other options have been exhausted," as Ercoloni asserts.

Setting an example for a circular future

Collaboration and incentivisation were key to the incredible turnaround that in 2013 saw Ercolini win the Goldman prize, the world's foremost environmental award. Going beyond just boosting recycling rates, with local policy makers looking at ways to reduce waste generation at source, and collaborating with experts at their pioneering Zero Waste Research Centre, Capannori reduced from 340 kg per capita per year in 2006 to 146 kg in 2011, a drop of 57%, to reach their current 55kg. Despite its limited resources, compared for instance to a country such as Denmark who stands at 409 kg unseparated waste per capita per year (2011) or perhaps indeed due in large part to its grassroots, community orientated approach, Capannori sets an example to follow for any municipality who wants to shun incineration and advance towards Zero Waste.